The first game from developer Pyrodactyl was Unrest, an adventure RPG set in ancient India that touched upon poverty, disease, and social and political change. So you’ll understand when I say that their latest game, Will Fight For Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour, an RPG and brawler that stars a down on his luck wrestler (Jared Casey Dent) seeking revenge on the cartoon villains that betrayed him, is massively different. Even that title is a parody in and of itself.
So being such a huge tonal shift from their first title, Will Fight for Food is a huge risk. Plus, in addition to being marketed as a tongue-in-cheek fighting game, Pyrodactyl has also been keen to point out the fact that their game isn’t just punching, kicking and wish-upon-a-prayering as its dialogue system is quite rich too. But does the game deliver on all fronts or is it as hapless as Jared’s future prospects? Read our Will Fight for Food review to find out.
Well first and foremost, you really must believe me when I say that Jared is a sorry sack of a man. That’s not an insult, it’s endearing, and it informs much of the story and dialogue of the game. Y’see, Will Fight for Food‘s plot comes about when Jared returns to the small American town of Whateville in an attempt to make up for that one time where he got blind drunk, threw away a fabulous career opportunity (if you call winning a match rigged in your favour fabulous) and managed to ruin his own life and the lives of (most of) those around him.
If you’re expecting a feel good redemption story here then don’t, as Will Fight for Food‘s story is as simple as it comes and it’s all the better for it. Scattered across town are Karate Kim, Lilly, Lou, Hector, Peter, Steve (who’s fetchingly dressed in a koala suit), and the foe who started your rapid spiral into irrelevancy, The Marine. With the suburbs, the academy, the forest, the town hall, the resort, the hospital and downtown, they’ve all got their own digs and their own quests to tie up.
Hector for example, is tied up in that tried and tested trope of ‘jocks v nerds’, featuring Jared as he triumphantly unites both sides, while Lilly is a park ranger who needs to sort out a pack of furries. None of the plots are particularly big or clever and completing all of them results in a big ol’ boss battle as expected, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said back before inspirational quotes spawned intellectual movements and not Instagram captions, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”.
With Jared giving approximately zero cares about the outcome of said plots, he has two ways of solving any of his problems: his gift of the gab or his gifted gams, as a few good sentences or a few swift kicks in the shin will get you…some sort of outcome. On the fighting side, just like the plot, it’s not that deep.
Using Z to punch, X to kick and C to shoulder barge the fudge out of anybody that gets up in your personal space, Will Fight for Food allows you to fight any character in the game. There’s a whole lot of button mashing and it’s not going to rival Street Fighter or Tekken any time soon, but its fast pace and its comic book ‘WHAM!’ style reminds me of those classic flash games on Newgrounds in the early 2000s – total time sinks. Only a few games have taken me back to that throwback era (Concursion is another that’s pulled this off) so that was welcome.
As for the pacifists’ side of the coin, the game gives you three different categories (body language, opinion and tone) and makes you choose your delivery appropriately, based on the type of person that they are. Does this work all of the time? No it doesn’t as the right choices don’t always immediately jump out at you, but the fact that the game gives you several chances to convince the other side to agree with you (helped by their woeful indecision) is a plus point. I have a feeling that the guesswork of the dialogue is somewhat spurred on by the fact that punching NPCs right in their little, virtual faces is a bigger draw to the game, but with a little more love from the developer, the system could work.
So that’s two out of three for the gameplay systems (or one and a half, depending how we’re rating that dialogue), what about the jokes? Again, despite having watched those pre-release trailers, I don’t think that Will Fight for Food is particularly funny in the traditional ‘this protagonist is an emotionless void, chuckle at his calloused replies!’ sort of way, but the game did have me laughing regardless.
That’s because there’s just an innate thrill and humour about donning your wrestling mask and ploughing into a bunch of unsuspecting NPCs for no good reason. They give as good as they get though and sometimes your victims will gang up on you in a way that the Whateville police department (who spend a great deal of time complaining about doughnuts) would be proud of. That’s a little dark, yes, but if you love You’ve Been Framed (America’s Funniest Home Videos), fart jokes and have done so much as smiled at an episode of Jackass out of amusement, then you’ll find this funny too.
In closing, I’ll note that Will Fight for Food is just $5.99. The reason I point that out is because WFFF is extremely short and you can whizz through it in two hours or under. While that would usually be a negative, for that price it’s not too bad. Plus, there’s some replay value in the different difficulty levels (each with a varying level of health regen), choosing which characters you beat up (if any), and there’s also opportunity for collecting items that boost your speed, damage and health stats. So, if you’ve got a few dollars going spare and a few hours to kill, go and download Will Fight for Food (for PC, Mac, or Linux) via Steam right now.